Parents dig in their heels

2017-02-16 06:01
 Learners from KwaMfundo were blocked from entering the school and were made to protest for a new school.  PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

Learners from KwaMfundo were blocked from entering the school and were made to protest for a new school. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

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Monday morning was supposed to be another day of learning at kwaFaku Primary School in Lower Crossroads.

However, parents claiming to be fed-up with the Department of Education for coming short on its promises, had other ideas as they instead locked out the learners from the premises.

Lessons take place in makeshift classrooms at present, in clear disregard of an undertaking that these would be demolished to make way for a permanent brick and mortar structure.

The school has more than a thousand learners.

Construction of the new school was supposed to have commenced last month, according to them.

Albert Dlala, for the parents, said that the school was crumbling and the government was not working fast enough.

“Last year we were promised by the department that they would start(building) and we are now in February and nothing has been done. Today we want the department must come to us and tell us when the construction will begin.

As you can see the school is in tatters, the windows are broken, the paint work is peeling and that the material used to build the school is not available and therefore it is irreparable,” said Dlala.

He said that they decided to take action as the situation was getting worse for the learners at the school.

“Learners are in harm’s way with the building as the windows are broken, there is dust and the toilets cannot flush.

The cleaning staff has to hose down waste material everyday because the pipes cannot be repaired,” said Dlala.

He said that the school was built in 2000 as an experimental project but this has caused problems as some of the materials used cannot be easily found thus making repairs impossible in some cases.

School Principal Mauren Figlan said that there was not much they can do as the community had taken over the matter.

“There was an agreement that the construction will begin in January and we have been waiting. The school is really in a bad state. In fact we have had two staff members that have become sick as the result of the dust in the building,” she said.

WCED spokesperson Paddy Attwell said that the district director met a delegation of parents at the school.

He said that an infrastructure planner visited the school on Tuesday with a group of parents to inspect the condition of the school and to make recommendations.

“The report of the infrastructure planner will form part of the director’s report to the department. He will seek consensus with the parents with on his findings. The department is aware of the general condition of the school and has already planned to replace it by 2019.

Normally, learners occupy the existing premises while the new school is built. The department takes whatever steps are necessary to ensure the health and safety of learners and staff during this time,” he said.

Attwell said that members of the community have prevented teachers from entering the school over the past two days.

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